People Embracing Phone Photography In Uganda.

Most of us keep our phones with us almost all the time. They have become an extension of us. Our clocks, our planners, our mirrors, our doctors and the keepers of our most intimate thoughts. Of recent because of our constant dependence on our phones, they have been receiving a lot of negative publicity or is that social media. Anyway, despite the flack, phones have also come with the liberalization of Photography.This, coupled with a million and one editing apps, and the ability to self-publish with the emergence of social media networks and affordable data like Airtel data blast, phone photography is on the rise in this generation. And because of the advancement in the camera technology packed in our phones, pro photographers can no longer look down on people taking pictures with their phones. For many, they have even started to refer to them as their second camera. Phone photography has become an art form of its own.

Recently, we asked different phone photographers to share with us their best shots in a questionnaire thread we did on our Kafunda Kreatives Twitter account, the responses and the pictures were both overwhelming! We have put most of these shots in this article to; showcase these people’s craft, to inspire many other emerging phone photographers, and perhaps learn a few things from each other.

In no particular order we give you;

Angella Atwine a Journalism and Communication Student, phone Photography started for her when she didn’t own a camera then yet she wanted to shoot, she decided to try the phone camera out and it worked. She is a multitasking beast who loves doing so much and like to live.

Angella‘s Submission

“I believe and know phone photography can take you places.”

Amanyire Innocent aka Ninno Jack Jr. a Graphics Designer and Photographer,  Initially he could not afford a DSLR camera, he had to maximize with what he had, the phone. Currently, he is working his way up with a $1000 Nikon Camera.

Ninno Jr.’s Submission

“Learn, learn with whatever resource is available, if you are passionate about photography, your skills will be noticeable on a $100 phone then work your way up to a $6000 camera.”

Eddy Atum Benjamin but more popularly known as Benjaah Edwards, he studied Horticulture at Makerere University but gravitated towards writing and blogging as a passion, but soon, it shocked him by becoming a major source of income. He is also a certified Digital Marketing professional. He works in the digital creative space, as a content creator, PR personnel and so much more. Phone Photography is something he stumbled upon. Of recent, he has become a fitness enthusiast literally, he is officially a fitness addict.

Eddy‘s Submission

“I happen to love photography as a means of telling stories. Sometimes, you are presented with a moment that you wish a professional photographer captures because it may not be repeated. That, and the fact that I like playing with photo-editing apps drove me to phone photography”

Sidney Natuhamya a student at Makerere University. He started loving phone photography after learning how to use a DSLR two years ago. He started doing phone photography because he has not yet acquired his own DSLR camera. However, he got access to cameras when he started working with photographers like Aaron and Isaiah Kajumba, Pacutho Andrew, and they mentored him under the Beohrt’s Beard umbrella, really dope guys. So they taught him how to shoot, edit and exploit my strength, which is basically seeing beauty in the things that look normal to the naked eye. Besides school he does cinematography with Beohrts Beard, that includes documentaries, photo shoots, video shoots and more. We can be found at beohrtsbeard.com  (This AD is on us – we gotcha)

Sidney‘s Submission.

“make due with what you have, you don’t need a dslr, though it is better or a very nice camera to create good art but love what you do and think of the images you take with your phone as a way to express yourself.”

Faith Mulungi a radio host, online producer PowerFm and digital manager, phone photography is a hobby she picked up, and boldly said it is a beautiful journey. She would love to own a DSRL camera with ‘lit’ lenses and grow her craft!

Faith‘s Submission

“The learning never stops but never settle, always try out something new”

Lumaama Godfrey a freelance IT Specialist with a passion for photography. He got into phone photography around 2015, but it’s until 2017 that he started getting serious about it. Phone photography has also simplified backing up and editing of pics. Because there are many photo editing apps now Other than photography, He likes reading, playing rugby and traveling. He has a passion for programming too (Java)

Godfrey‘s submission

“Phone Photography is one way of art that few people have discovered, phones with good cameras can do capture moments the very way cameras do.”

Marega Hannington a Telecommunication Engineer. He has grown up to love photography especially nature so he decided to use what was in his hands, the phone camera. He occasionally plays football especially goalkeeping and any position apart from defence. He is also an upcoming self-made DJ.

Hannington‘s Submission

“composition, the rule of thirds and be a full-time photography student anyday”

Nobert Aleti an architecture student and a visual artist. Phone photography was jumpstarted by Social Media activities but then, he couldn’t own a camera, so he embraced limitation with what he had. He also likes traveling.

Nobert‘s submission

“It’s good to always review your pictures, gives you a new perspective each time.”

Tibaweswa Stuart Mathew he does Documentary and conceptual photography. he got into phone photography when he realized that phones can make amazing silhouettes which he is super obsessed with. Besides other hustles he does filming.

Matthew‘s Submission

“Photography is not having a dslr camera but having a sense of observing things with your eyes to freeze them on camera.”

Mwondha Ashraf Kweyamba a Civil Engineering student at Kyambogo, He was Influenced by his old friend Sidney Natuhamya into phone photography. He does a lot traveling.

Ashraf‘s submission

“It is not about how good the phone camera is but about the creativity of the photographer”

Blair Davis Mugume Kwehangana from Kabale and Kanungu, Uganda is a fresh Graduate with a Petroleum and Mineral Geoscience degree. He is Currently based at an Accounting and Taxation firm where he does freelance Geology and Geoscience consultancy. He has a Passion for general photography and he is still a budding photographer, thirsty to learn from any and everyone. He is an addicted reader with undesired phases of rehab. He also loves travel, philanthropy, and a game of pool.

Blair‘s submission

“More less a skill attained than a lesson; It has enabled me to train my photography eye to notice things, perspectives, light tricks that I would otherwise have missed without the practice”

Ghost Tales | Obukalabanda

Mythical creatures and ghosts are probably a part of many more childhoods than adulthood. Nonetheless, we have all heard, and at best experienced them.  In Uganda, it’s probably the famous Bukalabanda or perhaps the Basezzi commonly referred to as night-dancers. Whatever your encounter with Mystical creatures, you have one! Let’s explore some of these stories here.
Buckle up!These stories have made grown men wet their pants.

 

Bukalabanda;
“Kaka-kaka-kaka-kakalabanda . . . Kaka-kaka-kaka-kalabanda…”
That is the sound you will hear shortly after the lights go out.
Students who attended boarding school, especially the ‘traditional’ ones, are no strangers to the tale of the Kakalabanda. A ghost that visits students’ dormitories in the dead of night, to ‘put in line’ students who were naughty or disrespectful or in some circles students who had a distinct spiritual attachment.

At the peak of the night, 3 am to be exact, many of these ghosts surface and walk among the living; attacking, disturbing and oppressing them.
Intense winds, rustling, and falling leaves rattling on the dormitory roofs and the clack of bones like sounds against the floor was the signal to shut your eyes tight and not peek. You then started to pray that you weren’t the target of the Kakalabanda that night.

“The clacking sound made by the Obukalabanda as they walked the halls of dormitories are similar to the sound made by famous shoes in the 1880’s called Kalabanda, hence the name. – Kakalabanda”Bukalanda are said to attack certain schools, apparently schools on the hills are said to be prime. Hills for generations and in different locations seem to be the best gathering places for spirits and ghosts.

Bukalanda are said to attack certain schools, apparently, schools on the hills are said to be prime. Hills for generations and in different locations seem to be the best gathering places for spirits and ghosts.

However, this led some people to believe that these were just urban legends, created by bullies to terrorize and steal from unsuspecting newer students.

What have you heard about the Kakalabanda?

Koikoi Delicacy: Color. Taste. Variety.

Uganda is so rich in the variety of food on offer, ranging from fresh food to processed food. One might live all of their life in Uganda without ever having to consume processed food. This variety and depth of the offering is what #KoikoiDelicacy themed week sought to capture.

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COFFEE, CROISSANTS AND CONVERSATION.

Hello, my name is David and I am a recovering couch potato. It’s hard, it really is. You wake up one day and realize you have missed out on everything, the breath taking sunsets, the smiles, the feel of grass and sand beneath your feet, everything. All because you were too absorbed, taking in one episode after the other, one 140 character rant after another, too absorbed to notice. You wake up on a day like today and realize, you missed it all.

Now I know you are tempted to say to yourself, “I have missed too much, I can’t catch up, “or “experiences are too expensive, have you seen the price of accommodation?” I know I did. I convinced myself I didn’t need to see the world. I told myself I could see it all in 45 minute bursts with perfect punch lines and background music, that I was different. I could afford to be this person.

A couple of months ago I started to have conversations with people about this little dream that started with me trying to impress a girl on the rooftop somewhere. I looked out at the sky that night and I realized, there was a hold world out there to see and I had missing. These conversations led me to a breakfast this morning with a couple of media people, bloggers and country directors. Yes I said it, country directors, let me even add, country directors of multinationals so you can know how important I feel. Though come to think about it, they wouldn’t be country directors if their company was not a multinational right? It has just hit you, hasn’t it? Well, that’s not the important part.

I met a nice gentleman called Solomon Mario Oleny who is part of local tourist group called Bayaya, a bunch of Ugandans who are about sharing cost and seeing Uganda in the most effective way. I am definitely hitching the next hippie caravan these chaps put together to see this beautiful country.

I sat down with the wonderful people from jovago.com and they told me how travelling the country doesn’t have to be expensive because they have gone out of their way to negotiate for you the best price with hotels around the country. These prices you won’t find at the hotels themselves. In doubt? See for yourself

I learnt about a magazine called The View, and got the wedding destination I have always dreamed of. A church that sits all of 4 people, possibly the smallest in the world. Now that would cut down on my guest list tremendously would it not?

A few months off my couch and I have learnt all this, saved money and found a pretty romantic way to weasel my out of an expensive wedding. This is the real winning.

So I would like to invite you to start winning. Start small, join me and a couple of friends site see, learn and photograph Kampala this weekend under the awesome initiative #Koikoiug. Come snap a photo, share with the world, meet new people and enjoy a cold one at  sunset. Register here, and let’s catch up Sunday at the #KoikoiInstawalk.

#KOIKOIUG: IT WALKS, IT CAPTURES, IT SHARES. WHAT IS IT?

Have you ever looked up photo’s of Uganda on Instagram? We have. You should to. The results are nothing short of breathtaking. See for yourself.

@petermayanja 4 irenexploresbw 7 @petermayanja

@irenexploresbw 2 typical ugandan 2 typical ugandan 3

typical ugandan 4 @irenexploresbw 5 @wokxne

Thanks to Instagrammers like @irenexplores, @petermayanja, @thisisuganda (give them a follow by the way) who are not afraid to share the Ugandan story, there is good about Uganda floating around the internet, but it is barely enough. You and I need to add our voices to this. We need to add our Instagram accounts onto this. We need to make more noise about our country.

First stop, #KoikoiInstawalk. On Sunday 13th November, join us as we capture Kampala, starting from the KCCA Katale and going on till Gadaffi mosque, capturing the pulsating urban culture and landmarks of our beautiful capital city.

instawalk

So save the date, get a pair of comfy walking shoes, your phone or camera and meet us at 4pm at the KCCA Katale stage. We shall bring the drinks, and the sandwiches. Just register here so we know you are coming.

And over the next 10 weeks after this, lets follow the hashtag #Koikoiug, share photo’s from the weeks theme, be part of the weekly conversation and tell the Ugandan story, one Instagram post at a time.

FLUENT UGANDAN

I came across this video on Facebook today about this girl who speaks “fluent American.” Basically, she was talking to this guy in the UK about something she wanted him to buy for her. She literally put the gold in gold digger, and it’s not in the way you think. On explaining to the guy that what she wanted, he said it was too expensive, “an entire 15 pounds” he said. She however could not understand why he was telling her how heavy it was instead of how much it cost.  As I said, pure gold right? This got me thinking though, what do people think of Uganda in “fluent American,” or “fluent German” or “fluent French?” What shapes their vocabulary about our country?

Very recently the dictionary was updated. They added words like ‘side-boob’ and ‘amaze-balls,’ words for so long that were not considered acceptable in the English language but now can be used in a PhD thesis. These words were being used so much that the snobbish aristocrats who decide what is and what isn’t English had no choice but to let them into their circle of acceptable lingual.

So the snobbish aristocrats of fluent American, or fluent French might think we live in trees, own giraffes or that Idi Amin is still our president, and maybe that is all the section on Uganda in their dictionary says. We however can’t tell the world so many stories about this country that they have no choice but ti expand their vocabulary. We can put 1 million photos of this beautiful country on the internet, on Instagram and by extension Facebook. We can make the world a little wiser. We can shout #koikoiug from the roof tops.

Ps: In case you are still wondering the application of the word ‘amazeballs,’well;

A.maze.balls /əˈmāzbôlz/ : extremely good or impressive: amazing.

Uganda is amazeballs. Tell someone about it using the hash tag #koikoiug.

Side boob is self-explanatory, unless of course you are six.

#KOIKOIUG: IT IS BIGGER THAN ANY ONE OF US. IT TAKES ALL OF US. WHAT IS IT?

An honest, balanced depiction of Uganda. That is what #Koikoiug is supposed to be. That’s what we at Kafunda Kreative want it to be, all three of us so far. But then there is what the cold feet want it to be. “Oh you have no sponsorship they say, you won’t be able to pull it off.” “Oh you have no incentives; people won’t participate if you are not giving them something.”

It has been a scary couple of months trying to make #koikoiug work. Countless meetings, postponements, waking up in cold sweats, prayer, knocking on doors, begging, you name it, we have done it.

Cold feet say, “what if it doesn’t work out, what if no one comes, what if no one participates?” And every day we have pushed on, saying, “ what if they do?” What if Ugandans stand up, get together and minus all the gimmicks and flash put 1 million photos of Uganda out on the internet? What if we tell 1 million stories? What if Ugandans shout out Koikoi? What if we manage to put out Uganda’s first crowd sourced ad? Can we tell a story about this country, our country that will stop the world in its tracks?

That story starts this weekend, Sunday September 13th, as we do an Instawalk around Kampala, starting at the KCCA Katale and ending at the Gadhafi mosque capturing the pulsating urban culture of our countries capital. After which, all through to the 20th of November, we shall have a weekly photo challenge with themes like Landmarks, Independence, Innovation, Night out, Proudly East African and so many more. And at the end of those 10 weeks, all this will put into a series of ads reminding the world, that Uganda is still The Pearl of Africa.

How do you get involved? Well, show up for the Instawalk this weekend. Be a part of the 10 week photo challenge. If you are a business, get in touch, give something, support the team that’s doing this. Otherwise spread the word, share this blog post. Follow Kafunda Kreative on twitter, facebook and Instagram, and share the weeks themes, tell a friend, whatever you can do, do it. Just don’t sit it out.

An honest, balanced depiction of Uganda, for Uganda, by Ugandans. We cannot do that without Ugandans. We cannot do it without you.

WHATS BLUE, DOESN’T EXIST, AND COMES ONCE A WEEK TO TORMENT US?

I have the coolest job in the world, or so I think. I don’t have to be in the office at 8 am and that means I can sleep in, I work four hours a day and I can wear shorts and flip flops on a Monday. I should be the last person to complain about the blues.  (ok, save for mattress tester who is literally paid to sleep. Yes, mattress tester is a real job) Everything should be rosy, but it isn’t. Like the majority of people, I dread Mondays, and the funny thing is, like the majority of people, I do not know why. Do you know why you hate Mondays? Oh, you are some sort of super human who doesn’t succumb to the whims and desires of us mere mortals? My bad! When you think about it, there is no reason to hate Mondays, unless you hate you job, and in that case the problem isn’t with Monday but is with your current employ. Also when you think about it, succumb is such a funny word, sounds very made up. Like more made up than other made up English words. I know, it is one of those ones you want to say over and over again. Succumb! Succumb! Okay, now its no longer just in your head, you are now vocalizing, and in comes that dumb childish grin, and wait for it, the full on chuckle. Stop it, people might actually think you are crazy.

Sad thing about the world though, is we don’t find the belief in the existence of Monday blues crazy. The belief in the existence of some imaginary nemesis, with a cloak made out of paper work whose sole purpose is to make the beginning of the week suck. How is that not crazy? We encourage imaginary friends now? Oh! Okay. Like most things, Monday blues are another lie we have sold to ourselves, and not until you stop buying it do you realise how much it affects you way of life.

Yes, you guessed right. I am going to switch up this nicely crafted tale about the blues and make it about KoiKoiug, because that was always the plan; to draw you in with some almost funny commentary on blues and then bam!!!! Koikoiug.

We are what we believe. And those beliefs affect how we see the world and inherently our quality of life too. If Monday blues are your beliefs about Mondays, then your start of the week is going to suck. Now this doesn’t mean that shitty stuff doesn’t happen on Mondays, it sure does., but the blues ensure we stay with that pants down, toilet like feeling even when there is nothing toilet like happening. Same thing about country. Are you having the blues for your country; A persistent toilet like feeling about your motherland even when there is nothing toilet like happening? What do you believe? Koikoi!!!

PS: A couple of friends and I (@kafundakreative) are wondering why blue? Shouldn’t they have been Monday greys? Coz blue is such a nice, calming color.  Follow us on Facebook, twitter and Instagram to start a petition to change that. Also there is another petition to do something about that toilet feeling we have towards out country called #Koikoiug, we hope you sign up.

I hope you read that in an Obama voice, because then it sounds cooler and exponentially more inspiring. Ok bye.

#KOIKOIUG: THE PEARL OF AFRICA

“How does your program highlight the plight of the women? How can your initiative be used by the youth to discuss issues affecting them? “Questions like this are the daily bread of interviews, and honestly it gets tiring to hear them over and over and over again. Now this is not because we are insensitive to the plight, we are very much are aware of the sick, the poor, the ailing systems and infrastructure you name it, we live with it every day, but from taking a moment to stop and take it all in, we realise, that maybe without knowing, the plight has begun to define us. Has that become all we see when we look at our country? Think about it for a second, isn’t one of the problems with this, our Pearl of Africa, our vantage point? Do we hurry to point out what is wrong, but are hesitant to acknowledge when things are right?

Come on a journey with us will you, to the year 1908. Tribes were at war with one another, men were being traded for salt and mirrors, communication took days, roads networks barely existent, hospitals a dream, education for the lucky few, and yet during this time Uganda was baptised the Pearl of Africa. There have been many theories as to why Churchill called Uganda the pearl, but let me give you mine.

Have you ever researched on how a pearl is made? It’s fascinating really. When a foreign object like a grain of sand makes it way through the shells of an oyster, in order to protect itself, it builds a mass around it, which mass becomes the pearl. That is the short version really but you see how magnificent this is, don’t you? From the ‘plight’ of the oyster comes the pearl.

Churchill looked at Uganda, he looked at the sickness, the pain, the war, but he also looked at the magnificent scenery, the beautiful culture in our 50 plus tribes, the wildlife, and despite he saw the mass, the beautiful mass that formed around the plight and decided to call us the Pearl of Africa. What could change if we looked at our country the way he did?

The oyster build a large beauty, a pearl, around a grain of sand. We seem to have built a large grain of sand around our pearl. If we chose to “protect”( read show the world) our pearl, wouldn’t we attract more tourists, better investors and thus create more jobs and more stability? If we chose to tell the full story, how many minds could we change, how many stereotypes could we break?  Isn’t the root of our problem, our vantage point?

That’s is the riddle that needs to be solved. Koikoi.

KOIKOI WORLD

We have all heard the stories. A Ugandan you know living or visiting abroad has been asked whether they live in trees or if they own a pet giraffe.A Ugandan I know, while visiting a church in Australia, was given 100 dollars by their neighbor on realizing they were from Uganda, on the assumption that they were destitute and in desperate need of donation.You hear of stories of people who are surprised when Africans go abroad to study and they get asked if they have clothes back home and sometimes its as bad as this (video of a guy posting on you tube that he wants to donate 1million shirts to Africa because they all need shirts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYZFyzmyCRE )

Now I can’t blame them for thinking that, their views of our country are shaped by ‘ Gods Must Be Crazy,’ and thousands of sob story pictures peddled by NGO’s.  Yes we have starving children, yes you might have an uncle crazy enough to own a wild animal of some sort, yes we might digging our way out of the effects of war, but our country is far from a war ridden jungle full of starving children, and the only way for them to know is for us to show them.

Growing up, my grandfather gathered all of us by the fire every evening to impart wisdom, through riddles, and how I loved hearing the phrase “ Koikoi,” which signaled the beginning of this riddle,a puzzle that would sometimes take us 2 days to solve but which also mean we would be a little wiser at the end of it all. Those times round the fire are the inspiration behind a 10 week challenge I hope will spread some wisdom and tell the Ugandan story because how will they know if we do not belt out our very own “KoiKoi.”

Thanks to the internet, the world is one global fireplace. With over 300million subscribers, if Instagram were a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world. Now that is one big fire place. And for the last couple of months we have been thinking, what if we could get 1 million photos and stories about Uganda on Instagram and by extension on Facebook? How many minds could we change? How many stereotypes could we break?

A man roasts chicken by the roadside at Bayimba International Arts Festival
A man roasts chicken by the roadside at Bayimba International Arts Festival

Now 1 million photo’s might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t if we do it together. Over the next 10 weeks, together with some friends in a collective of creatives called KafundaKreatives, we have structured 10 themes to act as a guide. Our hope is that every week starting September 11th, you will join us in sharing your interpretation of that weeks theme under the Koikoi hashtag.

At the end of 10 weeks, those 1 million photo’s will be compressed into ad’s about Uganda literally done by you. An ad about Uganda, by Ugandan’s, for Uganda. An ad telling the whole story, from the breathtaking serenity in the hills of kasese, to the unapologetic falls of Karuma and Bujagali, to the urban culture of Kampala, the technological innovation of our young and bright minds, out people, our culture, our communities. Join us in telling a story about Uganda that will blow the world away.